Sad Sunbeams

I read with great interest and sympathy “Another Tale of Woe” published last month. We have three Series 3 Sunbeam Alpines in the family, and it seems significant that many of our complaints are identical.

My own spent the first two weeks in the showroom and then a further week “for our special Rootes pre-delivery check,” with an extra day to trace a fault in the headlamp-flasher, which wasn’t permanently cured until a month after delivery. During this time (plus the month it was on order) no wing mirrors, seat belts or heaters came in, so I had to set off on holiday without them. Five minutes after leaving the dealers the needles on my water and petrol gauges crept insidiously over the dials and vanished out of sight; water poured through the hole prepared for the non-existent heater; and both shock-absorbers began to screech and had to be sprayed with silicone mixture every 150 miles.

After 1,000 miles the brakes developed a chronic rattle, diagnosed as a faulty caliper, although both the other cars in the family have also started it, and the new piece has been on order for nearly five weeks, so far in vain. Meanwhile as the fault worsens the brakes are showing a tendency to throw the car to the right on occasions. There has also been a fault in the petrol feed, resulting in dense fumes in the car, and trouble with the wire connecting the overdrive.

My brother has been paying weekly visits to the garage with a starter that periodically fails to connect with the engine, and has also suffered from a leak over the accelerator pedal and a loose handbrake cable. My father’s had a leak in the radiator and we all have flapping bonnets and rattling windows, and two of the cars had the right-hand hood cover connection broken on delivery.

Everyone who has been concerned with our misfortunes has shown the utmost patience and willingness to help in the shortest possible time, but there appears to be a universal resignation to occurrences of this nature, and no one has ever displayed any signs of surprise!

J.R. Vassar-Smith.